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Music

Why Every Student Should Be in Choir

Marketing major and UIC choir member Sarah shares her six top surprising benefits of singing in a choir:

“We all love music. No matter who you are, what you like to do or where in the world you’re from, music brings us all together. However, we don’t always associate our universal love and appreciation of music with choir. Isn’t choir just for nerds? Singing, especially in a choir, is associated with a myriad of health benefits that are just too vast to ignore. So, in the words of a choir nerd, “live long and prosper and join choir!”

No for real though, here is a list of six compelling reasons why everyone (yes, everyone) should join choir:

1.) Singing is scientifically proven to benefit your health, and I don’t just mean a little bit … a lot.

According to a study conducted by Harvard University, singing decreases stress levels and increases the functionality of our immune system as well as our hearts! So, if you want to die young barely having paid off your college loans, by all means, kill yourself studying and stressing 24/7. But if you wish to live a long, healthy life, there’s a seat in choir with your name on it.

2.) Singing as a part of a choir is scientifically proven to have the same positive affects on your well being as yoga.

For the most part, we all know that music is therapeutic and helps us cope with the stress of life, but singing in a choir is even more beneficial to our stress levels and our health than we might realize. Did you know that choir members’ heart beats actually sync up when singing in a group? Pretty crazy. I bet you also didn’t know that singing in a choir is beneficial to you heart as well as your overall health. How beneficial? As beneficial as yoga! So, skip the mat, the dirty floor, and the awkward person behind you checking out your downward dog and enjoy making beautiful music for an hour instead.

3.) Meet people from all different majors, cultures and backgrounds.

What good is your college experience if you spend it in a particular culture/major bubble? I’ll answer that question for you: it’s good for making you a really, really awkward person. Choir is a great way to get involved with a diverse group of people. Contrary to popular belief, choir isn’t only full of music majors. It’s also full of people from a wide variety of other majors who simply love music. Building on the common ground of a love for music, you can form friendships with people from all different academic disciplines and cultural backgrounds.

4.) Cultivating musical skills benefits all other areas of study.

Deep breaths … need I say more? You’re stressed? Freaking out? Homework? Exams? Sorority/fraternity drama? Family problems? Projects? Presentations? No worries, you’ve got choir next period. That’s a full hour of deep, controlled breathing. You’ll feel better in no time.

Besides the fact that music is highly effective at increasing our health and decreasing our stress levels, developing your musical skills is a great way to get yourself in the studying mindset. Singing centers your mind and body all at once. Slow controlled deep breathing, note reading and anticipating the flow of a musical phrase … you get it. There’s nothing that brings your mind and body into complete focus and control than singing. Harvard agrees too: “Musicians learn and repeatedly practice the association of motor actions with specific sound and visual patterns (musical notation) while receiving continuous multisensory feedback. This association learning can strengthen connections between auditory and motor regions (e.g., arcuate fasciculus) while activating multimodal integration regions (e.g., around the intraparietal sulcus). We argue that training of this neural network may produce cross-modal effects on other behavioral or cognitive operations that draw on this network.” So, basically … just join choir, your brain and your other studies will thank you for it.

5.) Music is a great conversation piece that you can take with you anywhere.

Got culture? You’re gonna need it, and learning music from many different places and times helps more than you think. Awkward date? Trying to start a conversation at a party? Want to get to know your coworker? You have an arsenal of conversation topics from your musical knowledge and experiences.

6.) Forever young, I want to be forever young …

Do you really want to live forever? Join choir. Seriously. According to the same Harvard study from point number four, musical activity (such as singing) increases brain plasticity and aids in the process of aging. Yup. So go on with your bad self … get registered for choir!”

Choir registration is open now. Visit our Ensembles page for more information about ensembles at UIC.